Looking ahead: Polish PM on Polish govt’s future

Mr Morawiecki (C) considers the fact that the EU agreed to scrap refugee quotas a success. Photo: PAP/Marcin Obara

In an interview with the “Sieci” weekly, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki spoke about inequalities, refugees and Poland’s potential to become a regional political and economic power-hub.

Mr Morawiecki considers the fact that the EU agreed to scrap refugee quotas a success. The decision was taken by EU leaders following hours of gruelling talks last week. Poland was one of just a handful of EU countries which did not accept refugees as part of 2015 program.

“After more than a dozen hours of talks, maneuvers and turns, we finally managed to accept a groundbreaking stance on immigration policy,” Mr Morawiecki said. He added that: “The issue of forced relocation is closed. From now on, each country will decide if it wants to accept refugees, or not.”

At the same time the Prime Minister admitted that due to a fast pace of recent events. His government had “no time for strategic thinking.”

Following a series of meetings with voters which he held across the country, Mr Morawiecki – who, until 2015, served as the head of the Polish arm of a foreign bank – said that “meeting with Poles everyday has helped a lot,” and allowed him to formulate a plan on what to do next.

Social government

Mr Morawiecki, who lauded his government for its pro-social initiatives, just launched a school supply benefit of EUR 70.

However, the Prime Minister aims to concentrate on the future. “Regardless of the improvements which we accomplished a year or two ago, we have to focus on the years to come,” Mr Morawiecki said.

He stressed that “there is a need for developmental policy. A policy that creates a wealthy nation in the long run.”

Long term plans Answering a question as to whether he maintained his statements from 2017 that PiS would govern until 2031, Mr Morawiecki said that: “I would very much like for us to govern for several terms, because then we would be able to make lasting changes to Poland.”

He added that Poland “as a country, has a huge opportunity,” and underlined that he wanted to fix the mistakes of an “uncompromising transformation” of the 1990s – following the fall of the Iron Curtain – as well as build a “just and modern economy attractive for foreign investors.”

Mr Morawiecki said that Poland's ruling Law and Justice party has already managed to restore the efficiency of Polish institutions, reinstitute social and historical justice, and raise Poland's position internationally.

Mr Morawiecki spoke of the recent joint declaration with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which finally solved the issue of anti-defamation law and made Israel recognize that “some people” assisted the Nazis, “regardless of their origin.”

It also claims that “numerous Poles” risked their lives to save Jews”.

‘Lack of understanding’

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki expressed his frustration with a lack of understanding for Poland’s judicial reform in EU circles.

He believes that they are failing to understand that Poland is trying to cut itself loose from its communist past.

“When I see that not a single judge who presided over political show-trials in Stalinist times – which lead to death sentences for leaders of the Polish anti-communist resistance – was prosecuted [after 1989], and when I realize that nothing was done to find the culprits of the deaths of hundreds of workers during the 1970 workers protests on the Baltic coast, I cannot remain silent”.

Looking ahead to a potential vote in the European Council on proceeding to activate Article 7 of the Lisbon Treaty which would open up the prospect of Poland being sanctioned, PM Morawiecki hopes that the member states view on Polish judicial reforms will be different from that of the EC.